Electronic Design UPDATE: April 21, 2004

April 21, 2004
Editor's View -- Broadband Over Powerline Should Boost Competition, Lower Prices by Louis E. Frenzel, Communications/Networking Editor. After years of technological development, testing, and regulatory wrangling, a new form of broadband access is...

Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0Jvu0Ax April 21, 2004


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** HURRY! HURRY! ATTEND THE PowerDesign365 WEBCAST on April 22 at noon EST: Distributed Power Architecture Emerges for the Telecom Central Office Al Cioffi will discuss how advances in power conversion and battery technology promise to drastically reshape the telecom central office. He'll discuss how switching from centralized to distributed power could save as much as 40% of the initial cost of an installed power system, while improving reliability and safety. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BF3D0A4 **************************************************************** Today's Table Of Contents: 1. Editor's View * Broadband Over Powerline Should Boost Competition, Lower Prices 2. Focus On Embedded Systems * Harnessing Software For Routing 3. News From The Editors * Analog/Mixed-Signal Process Allows Operation To 60 V * Motion-Control Card Delivers Advanced Features * Worldwide Semiconductor Sales Climb To $15.58 Billion 4. Upcoming Industry Events * IEEE Workshop on Electronic Design Processes * Reconfigurable Architectures Workshop 5. Magazine Highlights: April 12, 2004 * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Electronic Waste: Be Part Of The Solution * Leapfrog: First Look -- 3D Graphics/Video Engine Puts Punch In Portable Systems * Leapfrog: First Look -- Dual-Core DSP Serves Up 40-Bit Precise GFLOPS * Design View / Design Solution -- Design Maximum Data Flow Into Your Communications System Electronic Design UPDATE edited by John Novellino BE SURE TO VISIT Electronic Design's Web site, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, enjoy our Quick Poll, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our Forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. Go to: http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A03Hf0AZ TAKE OUR CURRENT QUICK POLL: How important is the issue of electronic waste today? Post your comments online for the April 12th cover story (ED Online 7820) or this issue's Editorial (ED Online 7819). Go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BGmZ0AQ ***** Also, visit our Job Board at http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BEmq0Al which ties to the Defense Talent Network for thousands of defense, aerospace, and homeland security postings. ***** SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. Electronic Design subscription ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BEE30A4 **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Editor's View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Broadband Over Powerline Should Boost Competition, Lower Prices By Louis E. Frenzel, Communications/Networking Editor After years of technological development, testing, and regulatory wrangling, a new form of broadband access is poised for takeoff. Known as Broadband over Powerline (BPL), this technology offers high-speed Internet access similar to cable TV and digital subscriber line (DSL). BPL puts high-speed digital data on the existing ac power lines using special modulation techniques. The electrical utilities are excited about a potential new revenue stream from their existing infrastructure. Today, well over 20 million households have some form of high-speed broadband Internet access. Most of it is supplied by cable TV companies like Cox and Time Warner. Many local phone companies also supply DSL Internet access. The number of cable Internet subscribers is roughly twice the number of DSL subscribers. With BPL coming online, consumers will have a third choice that should kick the competition up a notch and help lower monthly rates. Furthermore, one of the real benefits of BPL is that for the first time, many small towns and rural areas will finally get some broadband service. BPL is expected to provide downloads at rates up to about 3 Mbits/s. That is almost as good as the best cable TV and DSL services. In general, the monthly rate should be on par or even less than the $30 to $50 per month for cable and DSL. In February, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fully authorized BPL service so the utilities could go ahead and implement systems. About a dozen test systems have been in operation for a year or so with great success. So, we can expect to see this new service coming soon. One of the potential downsides of BPL is interference. The broadband modulation techniques used cover a range of 1 to 30 MHz. With those signals floating around power lines, there could be interference to radio services. The amateur radio community is really up in arms about BPL possibly interfering with ham radio communications in their HF bands. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the official spokes-organization for amateur radio, has lobbied the FCC about BPL, but to little avail. The FCC says that there may be some interference even though BPL must conform to standards for radiation under Part 15 of the FCC rules and regulations. Despite the fuss, it looks like BPL will go ahead. While the radiation from the power lines will be real, I suspect the signal level to be pretty low. If a ham's station and antenna are close to the power lines, there may be some interference. How many hams will be impacted? Hard to say, but probably not many. This situation is like the outcry about ultra-wideband (UWB) communications from a few years ago. UWB uses short pulses with a huge bandwidth for short-range communications. The concern was that it would interfere with all manner of microwave communications, such as cell phones, GPS, and services in the unlicensed 2.4-GHz band. Did that occur? Not really, simply because the Part 15 radiation levels are so strict. I predict that the same will occur with BPL. Even though I am a licensed ham (W5LEF) and work the HF bands, I'm not that worried. My amateur radio colleagues will probably hate me for saying this, but I believe the ARRL's response was overkill. I've been a member of ARRL for practically all of my adult life, and I am happy the group is defending our turf. The hams' concern is valid, but let's wait and see what happens and then fix the problem, if it does actually occur. The FCC provides for that. Here's to the success of BPL. To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTI0Aj **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On Embedded Systems ********************** ***Harnessing Software For Routing Are you ready to hear about networking software? No such luck. Instead, we have a tool to address the dreaded wire routing problem harnesses that most embedded designers need to contend with at one time or another. The SolidWorks Routing software is set of tools to automate the design of routes for wires, cables, tubes, and pipes plus harness bundles. This bridges the gap between electrical and mechanical design to speed product development. The 3D geometry is generated using a 2D point-and-click interface. SolidWorks Corp. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTJ0Ak ********************** 3. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Analog/Mixed-Signal Process Allows Operation To 60 V The 1.5-micron PBC3 process offers BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) capability for analog and mixed-signal ICs operating at up to 60 V. Optimized for a wide range of voltage nodes between 5 and 60 V, the process suits a variety of power-management and smart-power applications for consumer, automotive, and industrial markets. These include motor drivers, power interface drivers, and power regulation circuits. PBC3 combines low-voltage CMOS logic, bipolar control circuits, and DMOS transistors on one chip, allowing integrated, multifunction designs. The process also features a broad set of bipolar devices such as low- to high-voltage NPNs, lateral PNPs, and vertical PNPs with operating capabilities to 72 V. A complete design environment, including a Cadence process design kit, fully characterized device models, and a comprehensive manual are available. Pricing and delivery depends on customer requirements. PolarFab ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A07mZ0A3 ***Motion-Control Card Delivers Advanced Features The Magellan-PCI motion-controller board, which comes in one-, two-, three-, and four-axis versions, provides such advanced features as trajectory generation, servo loop closure, quadrature signal input, motor output signal generation, performance trace, on-the-fly changes, and commutation. It supports brushed, brushless dc, and step motors and can communicate through the PCIbus via a serial port or through the CAN bus. The board incorporates the company's Magellan motion processor, so designers can create motion systems using standard C or C++ programming. Input parameters accepted include position, velocity, acceleration, deceleration, and jerk. PLC-style external input/output breakpoints can be used to program automatic profile changes. Prices start at $744 in OEM quantitites. Performance Motion Devices Inc. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BDpk0Ah ***Worldwide Semiconductor Sales Climb To $15.58 Billion Reflecting the improving market conditions around the globe, worldwide sales of semiconductors in February 2004 rose 30.8% compared to February 2003, as reported by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). While total sales of $15.58 billion reflect a modest 0.2 percent increase over the numbers from January 2004, the SIA noted that February historically has been a relatively weak month for chip sales. "The strong year-on-year growth of more than 30% reflects the steady improvement in business conditions, a trend which we expect will continue throughout 2004," said SIA President George Scalise. "We are encouraged by the recovery in demand in the wireline communications sector. Although companies remain cautious about inventories, February shipments actually trailed semiconductor consumption. As a result, we do not expect inventory corrections will be a drag on chip sales going forward." The SIA noted that sales of programmable logic devices and standard cells grew in February by 4.3%, driven by a recovery in the wireline communications market. Microprocessor sales declined by 0.7%, reflecting historic patterns of subdued PC sales in the month. Sales in the United States and Japan declined slightly, while all other geographic regions recorded increases. The wireless communications sector and consumer electronics, which propelled the growth cycle with strong, double-digit increases through year-end were also flat to down in the month, but are expected to exhibit renewed momentum as the year progresses. The SIA's Global Sales Report (GSR) is a three-month moving average of sales activity. The GSR is tabulated by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, which represents approximately 66 companies. The moving average is a mathematical smoothing technique that mitigates variations due to companies' monthly financial calendars. Semiconductor Industry Association ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A07EI0A6 ********************** 4. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** May 5-6, NEPCON East/Electro Boston, Mass. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTK0Al May 23-28, Society for Information Display Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition Seattle, Wash. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTL0Am Company-sponsored events: April-June, Automated Test Summit (National Instruments) 10 cities in U.S., Mexico, and Canada http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTM0An May, Aerospace and Defense Symposium (Agilent Technologies) Five cities in North America http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTN0Ao ********************** 5. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. April 12, 2004: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Electronic Waste: Be Part Of The Solution Environmentally conscious designs, take-back programs, and legislative measures aim to embed more recycling within the electronics culture. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHUy0AY * Leapfrog: First Look -- 3D Graphics/Video Engine Puts Punch In Portable Systems http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHUz0AZ * Leapfrog: First Look -- Dual-Core DSP Serves Up 40-Bit Precise GFLOPS http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHU10AM * Design View / Design Solution -- Design Maximum Data Flow Into Your Communications System http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHU20AN For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0DJhUf0A0BHTO0Ap




Editorial: Lucinda Mattera, Associate Chief Editor: mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Associate Publisher: mailto:[email protected]


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